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An early look at Office 2010

Microsoft has released a Technical Preview of its Office 2010 Professional suite. Here are some of the new and improved features you can expect to see in it.

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By Ed Bott
Office 2010 takes a cue from Windows 7, with fewer editions and a straight upgrade path from one version to the next. This is the lineup for the top consumer edition, Office Professional 2010.
For more details, see "Office 2010 makes a splashy (but incomplete) public debut"
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When you click the Office button in an Office 2010 program, you no longer get a menu. Instead, you get this new composite dialog box, called Backstage view. Clicking Info displays these details about the current document.
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One of the biggest complaints power users leveled at the Office 2007 Ribbon was its inflexible nature. That's due to change in Office 2010, with the ability customize existing tabs, create new tabs and groups, and save your custom settings for reuse on another PC.
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PowerPoint gets a slew of new features, many of them focused on media. If you want to add a video clip to a slide, for example, you can now trim the video clip in place instead of having to use a separate editing program.
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Wide support for document formats is a blessing and a curse, In Office 2010, you can lock down some formats and prevent editing or saving files in those formats. The result, in theory, should be fewer compatibility headaches.
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Documents downloaded from the Internet deserve different treatment from those you create locally. By default, Office 2010 apps open them in Protected View, which prevents editing.
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In Outlook 2007, the Ribbon was available only when composing a new message. Outlook 2010 adds Ribbon support throughout Outlook. Note the context-sensitive Calendar Tools tab here.
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Setting up a print job in current Office apps involves multiple steps, with settings in one dialog box and previews in another. The Backstage view of printing consolidates all these functions in one pane.
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Like its predecessor, Office 2010 apps hook directly to web-based sources when you search for templates and other ancillary content.
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The incredibly useful OneNote free-form information management program will be part of every Office 2010 edition. This screen shows shared editing features and the new Paste Options box, which lets you change the format of pasted data on the fly.
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In Word and Publisher, font editing tools are significantly more interesting. For supported fonts like the new Gabriola shown here, you can add flourishes and customize ligatures directly in a document.
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A Translate button is available for every Office program. Choose a language (Italian in this example) and you can translate selected text just by pointing to it.

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